Often imitated, never duplicated: the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
The very first cheerleader and founder was Tyler’s Dee Brock.
“I’m so pleased with it,” Dee told KLTV 7 Sports Director Maya Golden. “I really happy that I was there and got to be part of it.”
From 1960 to 1975, Dee was the cheerleaders director. She grew up in Wright City and attended school in New London. Dee later went on to become a model in Dallas.
A friend working for the Cowboys introduced her to the team’s president Tex Schramm.
“He knew that Tex Schramm wanted to have cheerleaders for the Cowboys,” Dee explained. “His idea was that he would have models. First thing I did was, I said what every model always asks, ‘How much does this pay?’”
When Tex Schramm said there would be no salary, Dee informed him he would have a hard time convincing models to cheer.
“He said, ‘What do I do then? What could we do?” Dee shared. “I said, ‘if I were in charge, this is a start up team, first time you are going to have a team on the field, I would go for high school cheerleaders.”
So it came to be that the Cowboys first cheerleaders were high school students from the metroplex. They were girls and boys.
“I added boys to the mix so we could do more acrobatic kinds of things,” Dee said.
In the early days, fan reaction was very different from now.
“The fans like seeing the cheerleaders but they just didn’t want to cheer those types of cheers. They wanted to scream they way they wanted to.”
The team had to adjust to the cheerleaders presence as well.
“I met Mr. (Tom) Landry several times,” Dee said, “but frankly one of my jobs as a cheerleader director was to keep the cheerleaders and players separated.”
Dee took squads in 1971 to Super Bowl V in Miami and in 1972 to Super Bowl VI in New Orleans. It was after the Super Bowl appearances she decided change was needed.
The girls had to be 18 years old and she hired a dance choreographer. She also sketched the now trademark cheerleaders uniform on a legal pad.
“I designed a new set of costumes that were much more abbreviated. Maybe not quite as abbreviated as they are now,” she laughed.
When Dee wanted to integrate the squad, she was determined.
“At the time, the Cowboys management thought they just wanted to have white cheerleaders. But a lot of the fans were black and we had all these kids around, so I just kept after it. Eventually it happened.”
Those changes helped America fall in love with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
“The TV cameras could not keep their lenses off these girls so they just became hot stuff and they were getting all these invitations.”
That is when the Cowboys asked Dee to work fulltime as the cheerleader director. After 15 years, she decided to focus on her teaching career and work with PBS. But she says he always knew the Cowboys and their cheerleaders would be superstars.
“I really expected the Cowboys to succeed.”
Dee is also thankful for that meeting with Tex Schramm.
“Tex Schramm I thought was an outstanding person. He asked me then, ‘Could you do that? Could you organize such a group?’ and I said I could and so I did.”
Last Friday Dee Brock was honored for her work with the Cowboys at the Women in Tyler Day Luncheon.